Mayor warns splitting shires costly

GOING down the de-amalgamation path could be an expensive trip, Southern Downs Mayor Ron Bellingham has said.

Last week the Daily News spoke to State Opposition leader Campbell “Can-do” Newman, who said if elected, he would put the question of de-amalgamation to the people.

Cr Bellingham was asked his thoughts on the possibility of untwining the Southern Downs region and said it would be a very difficult process.

“Bluntly I think it would be like de-scrambling an egg,” he said.

“Having said that there are areas where it may well be appropriate to consider, but I think our region would struggle financially.”

Cr Bellingham would not nominate which areas he thought appropriate to de-amalgamate, but said it would be a matter of making things more efficient.

However, the financial burden would far outweigh any positives, he said.

“It would cost a very significant amount of money to de-amalgamate and I question whether our

community could afford it,” he said.

“At the end of the day, no matter the decision, the costs come out of the taxpayers’ pockets.”

While many still entertain the idea of de-amalgamation, Cr Bellingham said they were the relative few.

“We did go down the referendum path for Allora, when they were given the option after the first

amalgamation for Warwick,” he said.

“Much to many people’s surprise, they indicated they wanted to stay in the shire.

“I would suspect there would be relatively few

today that would, without significant financial support, be prepared to support de-amalgamation.”

While the council goes through what Cr Bellingham said was “the most difficult budget” he has had to deliver, he said it would be a hard ask to ask the community to foot a de-amalgamation bill.

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